Characters Appearing: Anak, Balder, Beta Ray Bill, Blitziana, Fandral, Garm, Hela, High Evolutionary, Hogun, Hulk, Jane Foster, Kurse, Loga, Malekith, Odin, Riger, Sif, Thor, Volstagg
Issue(s): Thor #489
The plot, a continuation from previous issues, has Thor having sworn to becoming a servant of Hela for the usual reasons of Asgardian honor. Thor's vast supporting cast of hangers-on has convinced the Hulk to go drag Thor out of Hel. Thor can't go with Hulk because he swore an oath to Hela, so Hulk has to fight him.
Beyond the art, i think my main problem with the comic at the time is the way Hulk was written. I see now it's just Roy Thomas doing his usual wordy asides. Only in a Roy Thomas comic is there enough time for two people to have a back-and-forth dialogue between someone clenching their fist and throwing the punch.
The other thing that is unsatisfying is that the Hulk is currently in his "the angrier I get, the more Banner I get" phase, meaning that he can't go all out against Thor. Generally speaking, i think the answer to the Whoodwin question is that Thor is initially more powerful than the Hulk, especially when the powers of Mjolnir are factored in, but the Hulk's odds improve the longer the fight drags on and the more enraged he becomes. In this fight, Hulk has to restrain himself. So it feels like a cheat. But as Thomas correctly has the Hulk realize, basically every Hulk/Thor fight has been restricted in some way.
The real resolution to the fight is pretty clearly telegraphed early on. The fight causes a lot of property damage in Hela's home, and she eventually decides that keeping Thor isn't worth the cost. Thomas also does a little lampshading by having Hela say that she knows that Thor wouldn't stand for her to kill Hulk directly.
Another factor is that Kurse has captured Malekith, who Hela apparently wants, and Thor's supporting buddies convince Kurse to turn Malekith over to Hela instead of extracting direct vengeance on him. Kurse even offers to stay with Hela himself for some reason; Hela's not interested in that but is flattered by the idea. So she accepts, and Thor is allowed to leave.
After the fight is over, Thor makes the decision not to join the High Evolutionary's "Godpack" which, good choice, Thor. The Godpack, as far as i can tell, will never be seen again.
This is the final issue of the Thomas/Wyman Thor run. Next issue is a DeFalco/Frenz oneshot (really an epilogue to their Thunderstrike series), and then we're into the Ellis/Deodato Worldengine story.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP have Hulk here between Hulk #433-434.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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